There are days where memories creep as a reminder from my time inside Planned Parenthood. When those thoughts happen, I try to document them. I don’t always share them. Some of them I just won’t ever be able to share with you. Some of them are things most of you wouldn’t want to know. However, there are some thoughts that I’m eager to share. This is one of those times.
Often, there is no communication between an abortionist and a woman having an abortion. None. Typically the doctor walks in without introducing himself, mask on his face, sits on a stool, performs the procedure, and walks out without saying a word to the woman on the table. We never had any complaints either. I guess women don’t expect the doctor who will take the life of their child to have a wonderful bedside manner.
Close to three months before I left Planned Parenthood, we had a young woman in the clinic who I had counseled before her abortion. She was very noticeably upset about having an abortion. I questioned her and encouraged her to go home and think about her decision. She insisted that this abortion needed happen that same day. This is what she wanted. She was just emotional, she said.
She asked me if I would be in the room with her to hold her hand during the procedure. I was happy to do that for people I counseled, especially for those that were nervous or upset. We got her in the room, I sat down beside her, placed her blood pressure cuff on, and the sedation was administered, but the sedation didn’t make much of a difference.
She cried even harder. She was crying so hard that she was shaking and her body was moving off the table. The doctor entered the room in the usual manner. He was about to sit down on his stool and realized she was very upset. Then he did something that left me speechless. He walked over to her and stood next to my chair. He took her hand and began talking to her.
“Why the tears?” he said. “I just feel really guilty about doing this,” she responded. He asked her why she felt guilty. She said, “Because I just know this is a sin.” He paused for a minute and looked at her. He looked at her so carefully, so cautiously. I had never seen one of our doctors treat a patient like this before.
He smiled gently at her and said, “No. It is not your sin. It is mine. I will take on your sin. I commit the sin. Not you.” He patted her hand, walked back to his stool and sat down. Her crying stopped. It was bizarre. Did he really think he was committing a sin? How could he do it if he really thought that? Did he think he was taking on the sins of these women by helping them obtain abortions? What a heavy burden to bear. It was hard for me to process then and it is still difficult for me to process today.
As I recall, while working at the clinic, I had a thought that if I died while I worked there, I would probably go to hell. I thought at the time that it would be worth it. I couldn’t imagine not working at Planned Parenthood. I did think that it was God’s will that I be there in the first place. I was so unsure of who God was or what His “will” actually meant, I was completely misdirected.
However, this doctor was different. If he really believed what he said, he was intentionally taking on the sins of these women. Why would he do that? Why would he want to? I won’t ever know the answer to these questions, but I do know that sin doesn’t work that way. He can’t be the scapegoat for these women.
Wouldn’t it be easy if we could pass our sins on to someone else? I mean, we are sinful people. We don’t even like to think about just how sinful we truly are. So, instead of thinking about our sins, we usually focus on everyone else’s.
Did you see what she wore to church? Do you know what kind of music he listens to? Did you hear what came out of her mouth? Do you know what he did last weekend? And on it continues. We are so concerned about the sins of others that we fail to remember that we are also sinners, we fail to look inwardly at our own sins first, there are even many times that we fail to correct them. It’s easier to pass judgment on others and shift focus from ourselves.
I frequently hear people say things like, “Shame on those abortion clinic workers. How can they do that to those poor little babies?” Or, “Shame on those abortionists. There will be a special place in hell for them.” Even, “Shame on those women who have abortions. They are the most selfish women ever.” You know what?? SHAME ON US.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson often talked about the strategy that was used when they founded NARAL, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. Dr. Nathanson said they just needed the Christian churches to stay silent on the abortion issue. The abortion groups just needed the churches to silently buy in, in a sense, in order to legalize abortion. That’s exactly what happened.
The statistics show that over 70% of women who choose abortion are Christians, and please don’t give me the “well, they say they are Christians” attitude. No. These are women who go to church, sit in Bible studies, attend Mass, lead praise and worship groups, daughters of pastors, wives of deacons, and so. You name it and there are women somewhere having abortions.
Why would these women have abortions? Don’t they know it is wrong? Sure they do. Why do we all sin? Why do you sin? We justify it. We rationalize it. We think we just HAVE to. We make sense of it. And are we talking about it? Nope, not really.
I go around the world talking to pro-life advocates and I ask them about abortion and the Church. Everyone’s response is fairly similar, the church isn’t talking about it. Sure, I will find a church every once in a while where the clergy bring it up in church or they actually have a ministry for single moms, I am always shocked and elated! I am shocked because it is SO uncommon.
Why don’t we want to talk about abortion? We have groups for everything in churches! Grief, beginning yoga, quit drinking/smoking, quilting, orchestra, low impact aerobics, how to deal with a problem kid, groups for homeschooling parents, divorce, how to manage your money, detailed studies on every single book of the Bible, 500 Beth Moore studies, knitting for beginners, weight loss, the list goes on.
I’m telling you, if you want it, you can find it at your local church. Well, unless you are in a crisis pregnancy or are suffering from a previous abortion. Oh, no ma’am. We don’t talk about THAT in church!!! But, if you would like to come meditate with us in yoga, we would love to have you on Tuesdays at 9am. One in three women have an abortion in this country, over 70% are Christian, but we won’t talk about it. Yeah, shame on us.
What are we waiting for? Are we waiting for permission from God? Well, we have it. We have it in the Scriptures. Check. Are we waiting for permission from our clergy? I hate to tell you this, but while you wait, babies are dying. We don’t need permission from the clergy to make things happen at our churches.
Women in your church right NOW are suffering and hurting. Families in your church are suffering right NOW from the devastating effects of abortion. But we wait?? What are we waiting for? You can make something happen.
Start a small group at your h
ouse and advertise it to the women in your church.
Connect with your local pregnancy center and put a table with all of their brochures and information at the back of your church.
Ask to put a small ad about your local pregnancy center in the bulletin every week.
Start bringing it up to your friends at church.
Hold a screening of a pro-life movie like Bella or Blood Money at your church.
Start a 40 Days for Life and get the people in your church involved.
Start making some noise!! Get uncomfortable! Make other people uncomfortable!! The people who are uncomfortable are the ones who need to hear it the most. Don’t wait for someone else’s permission to do the right thing!! It is always the right time to stand up for life! Now is the time!
Someone in your church is waiting for you to step out of your box and shake things up. You won’t be alone. We are never alone when we stand up for Christ and follow His teachings. These moms and babies deserve to hear our voices and we should be loud. In the end, we will not be able to pass our sins and apathy off on someone else. We will be accountable. We will say, no, these are not their sins, they are mine. There is no scapegoat.
Sharmen Wright says
Abby…you are right…I am a protestant, and a few years ago, one of the leaders of Kansans for Life told my mother that they have a hard time getting into protestant churches to speak about Abortion…shame on us is right! Thank you for all you are doing for the cause of life. God bless you today!
Abby don’t be naive that abortion doctor simply said whatever he needed to to keep that women from walking out of that abortion and from losing his paycheck. No more no less.
Patti Weber says
I am a big fan of yours, keep up the good work! I have to somewhat disagree with you regarding your second to last paragraph. There are support groups for pregnant women and women who have had abortions, in the Catholic Church. Our church holds clothing/money drives all the time for women in crisis pregnancies and Rachel’s Vineyard http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/ is for women who’ve had abortions.
92% of down syndrome kids are aborted, unless only Pro-Choicers are capable of creating kids with down syndrome, this shows that most Pro-Lifers (Christian or not) fold when push comes to shove.
Research the demon Azazel for information on the scapegoat, there is a reason the devil is depicted with horns. There is one sacrifice that matters and that is Christ, he took ALL sin, and he took it to the Tee.
While the original scapegoat ritual seemed to allow for sins to be cleansed, even that required repentance of heart and mind first.
I agree that the doctor probably just wanted his paycheck, but none of us will ever know. I personally have never had an abortion, so I don’t know what it is like to have to go through with a decision like that. I had my first child at the age of 17 and my family is doing well. She is going to be 16 soon. I encourage her to abstain from sex so that she will never have to worry. The only thing any of us can do with our sins of the past is to move forward and educate others so that they refrain from sin themselves.
Keep doing what you are doing Abby. God has a purpose for you (:
Terri Kimmel says
Many Catholic churches have a Gabriel Project for pregnant women. It’s not prominent enough, though. I’m very blessed to belong to a parish served by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. SOLT priests do preach about abortion, contraception and other forms of sexual immorality, including homosexual acts. True, it’s rare to see such courage at the pulpit, but there is hope!
Kind of strange the parallels of abortion to biblical things. Cant help but notice similarities:
Azazel (goat god) – Abortionists
Lilith – The original feminazi who killed children, first wife of Adam, and portrayed as the serpent and as a screech owl. Abortion industry as a whole.
Eve – Second wife of Adam.
Tree of the knowledge of good and evil – “Choice” of knowledge of sin.
Serpent – Vacuum aspiration tube?
Azazel has been portrayed riding on a serpent in certain texts.
While I know I am reaching a bit with all of this, read (Rev 12 KJV).
I cannot help but think of the different sized cannula attachments (heads), and the other abortion tools (horns).
Third part of the stars in heaven – Third part of the population?
On top of all of this there is “Moloch” and “passing the children through the fire”.
I am not saying that any of this is actually the case, or what is talked about in Revelation, but it all kind of earily fits together.
That abortionist’s remark to his patient about the abortion being his sin and not hers is truly bizarre. If he’s joking, that’s a disgusting thing to joke about. And if he’s serious, then I just don’t even know what to say to that.
David Cannon says
My dear sister, I’m with you 95 percent. Where we differ: I DO see a distinction between sins committed for gain and sins committed in despair. The abortionist belongs to the first category; the women (or many of them, at any rate) to the second. It’s rather like the difference between a starving person who steals a loaf of bread to survive, and professional thief who steals to make a living. It doesn’t make the sin any less terrible in its effect on the victim (in this case, the unborn child), but it does explain why MANY of us find it easier to forgive the woman who has had an abortion than the doctor who performed it. When I deal with women who have had abortions, I have never had to force myself to forgive them. But with the abortion professionals, that’s a different matter – I confess that I have really had to work at it. I know that logic will sound weird to you and others who were in the abortion industry … this is where many well-meaning people just talk past each other.
This is where your writings help people like me, Abby. A lot of what you write (on the blog and elsewhere) is intensely personal, a window into your soul. I won’t pretend to understand the logic of some of your explanations of how you used to rationalize your involvement in the industry. I can’t. But you know what? There is something deeper than understanding. True repentance ALWAYS has the imprint of God on it. I see that in everything you say and write, and when I see that, I don’t need to understand! True forgiveness doesn’t need to understand anything. It’s enough for me to know that Jesus paid for your sins as well as mine.
Keep up the good work, Abby. Even though you’re getting a lot of flack (and I’m really sorry that is happening to you), keep it up. Reading and listening to your story has helped me – and I’m sure, many others too – to learn to forgive people who have been where you’ve been. Blessings to you, my sister.
leigh ann says
I agree with Alaina— I think he was manipulating her so he could get through the “procedure”— cha ching. I don’t think it was some kind of act of kindness at all. Her abreaction was getting in the way of him moving right along.
leigh ann says
I have a four month old now who was a surprise. When I found out I was pregnant with her, my husband and I had just taken a huge risk in him leaving his job to come help me with my already existing business to expand the services we offered and morph into a ministry as well. I had no insurance, no money, 2 other small children, and I totally freaked out. I never thought about having an abortion, but your sentence really hit home with me when I look at baby Elizabeth now…”if these women were able to look at the value of the life they are carrying in their womb…if they could see beyond their current discomforts and look at the whole picture, we wouldn’t have women choosing abortion.” B/c I tend to have high risk pregnancies and all of that setting us back, we are still financially strapped, but it has all worked out. It all will work out. My baby girl has brought us so much joy, and when I look at her the other troubles just melt away. She was created by God, given to me by God (what an honor), and I will raise her in the way she should go, helping her figure out what her gift to this world will be. I have also learned that when you turn your troubles over to God, He will provide solutions all along the way. I really like that Abby is encouraging Christians to get their hands dirty. A subject I try to talk about in church quite often is sex trafficking of women and children, and no one seems to want to hear anything about these children who are enslaved even in our country all around us…..
Jennifer Brannon says
What an inspiring post, Abby!
Shelia Ware says
Abby,May I use this blog in my quarterly newsletter for the Crisis Pregnancy Services of Central MS – a Christian, Pro-life organization?
I have a hard time with the position that, say, a fifteen-year-old whose parents told her they’d throw her out of the house if she didn’t have an abortion is every bit as much a sinner as the abortionist who went to medical school, knows all the facts about human life, and wants to fit in twenty more abortions before the end of the week so he can make the last payment on his Mercedes. I don’t think God sees it that way. Also, what about women who truly don’t know that abortion is wrong? There’s a moral difference between acting in ignorance and acting to do something you know is wrong. I think in some instances it could be damaging to a girl or woman’s spiritual growth to tell her that she’s every bit as culpable as the people who exploited her crisis and smiled all the way to the bank.
The reason that teenagers aren’t usually charged as adults when they commit crimes is because their brains aren’t developed to that level. When you’re a teenager, getting an F on a paper can feel more like a final judgment on your personal worth than a “current discomfort.” There’s research that shows that the “long-term consequence” part of people’s brains might not finish developing until they’re in their early twenties. A lot of teenagers are going to think first and foremost of how to keep people from finding out they’re pregnant. They don’t always get – on a know-it-in-their-bones level – that abortion is about ending a human life.
Gail F says
Of course I wasn’t there, but I believe the doctor was probably sincere. To me this is striking example of humanity and compassion — twisted out of shape. Most sin is the twisting of something good, and even in the worst of people the basic good remains. If it didn’t, no one would ever repent and there would be nothing left to save. Wouldn’t we all feel better if we thought no decent human being could ever abort a child? It would be so easy to hate abortionists and people like Abby who worked for them! But loving and saving them is much harder; just as it’s hard for them to admit and cope with what they’ve done. It would be so much easier, I assume, for them to keep doing it. That doctor’s impulse to help the woman is what could save him. What he did, of course, was entirely wrong. But that is the impulse that, rightly directed, can lead to martyrdom or extreme sacrifice.
Gail F says
Marauder: Are you Catholic? Catholic moral theology recognizes that there are degrees of culpability, but that the person who commits a sin is nearly always culpable to some degree. I have only a basic training in moral theology, but as I understand it the doctor would be most culpable for the sin of an abortion on the hypothetical 15-year-old you describe; the workers and family and father would be culpable in a different way; and the young mother would be culpable in yet a different way. A person who does not know something is a sin — assuming he or she TRULY did not know (natural law theorizes that much of the time a person who had not heard that something was a sin would still have some sense that it was) — is far less culpable than someone who does know. But if you put your hand in a fire and you don’t know what will happen, you’ll still get burned.
This is different from many Protestant theologies, which say that all sin is equal — so there is no difference between telling a fib and aborting a baby, and there is no difference in culpability between a scared 15-year-old having an abortion under pressure and an independent and financially secure woman who deliberately got pregnant via IVF and then changed her mind.
Ceci Briones says
Abby, in one month, after reading your book, my life has changed so much. Abby, your words are deep and provacative. Please keep talking. Please don’t let anyone silence you. Listen to only what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. God bless you so much Abby.
Because we Christians have been silent, abortion is pandemic. Millions of souls are affected and still most of us sit on our comfort zone thinking it is someone else’s problem. Or if it is our problem, if we live with guilt, we want no one to know of it. We live in suffering then.
There is healing and forgiveness in Jesus Christ, so why are we quiet? Let us truly love and step up to defend life and also reach out to those who are suffering.
Please support your local 40 Days for Life so that this grassroots effort can grow and touch and change in many hearts.
Dearest Abby –
I have watched you grow and become a true voice for Pro Life. In one year, it seems, the Holy Spirit has touched your heart in ways that are so visibly courageous and true! God bless you with a continued growth toward HIM as you share your newly found peace and freedom through Christ’s Holy Name! You are always and forever in my prayers.
Serena Gaefke says
God bless you for coming out and speaking up! It must be very hard for you to deal with those memories (at least, I think it would for me!) Stay courageous and strong – I’m sure you are making a big difference!
Thanks for sharing Abby…I am in a PACE group at my local PRC right now, I know both of the other women taking the class, they have both aborted but I have not, I am taking the class for educational and healing purposes related to reaching out and other past wounds….I would have never expected either woman to be there and the sad reality is that there ARE so many more, they are shamed into hiding in secret, existing with shame day to day afraid to reveal their secret for fear of judgment, condemnation etc…I have plans for my local PRC, I am just getting my feet in the door so that they will let me…hahaha…I want to start classes that teach single moms how to shop for healthy foods on a tight budget and how to “power cook” and prepare multiple meals at once so that when they have been gone all day working and FINALLY get to see the kids (like I did for 4 1/2 years on my own) they have a healthy, home made meal, cooked with love and it can simply be thawed and re-heated….I am so discouraged with being the abortion yaker in my church, you are right, NO ONE wants to talk about it and I add, IN the appropriate light…they talk about how it is murder, they talk about how it is sinful, they talk about the baby but they tend to forget to talk about the reality of HOW MANY WOMEN ARE OUT THERE WHO HAVE HAD THEM….They need to know that there are safe havens in the local church where they can share their secret and find healing, they are too afraid of the gossips catching wind of their story….also if they open up and share, then it REALLY did happen and they have to face that pain, open that wound and without proper support, love and correct education and counseling it can set them way over the deep end….I love you and all that you do and I love gleaning from your wisdom…I am thankful to have you as a resource as I fight this fight with you and all the rest who are not afraid to speak! <3
Amber C says
Apparently this abortionist thought he was Jesus, the way he claimed to take away peoples sins….smh…